AMMAN: At least 10 people have died and more than 250 were being treated in hospital after a toxic gas leak from a storage tank in Jordan's Aqaba port, according to government spokesman Faisal Al-Shaboul.
Specialized teams were dealing with the leak after a tank filled with toxic gas fell during its transportation, leading to a leak at the site, Petra said, citing the spokesperson of the Public Security Directorate.
Video carried by state-run media showed a crane hoisting a large tanker from a truck and then dropping it on the deck of a ship, causing an explosion of yellow smoke and sending dock workers racing away.
The area was immediately evacuated, according to Aqaba Governor Mohammad Al-Radayaa, who said the situation “had been controlled.”
Local authorities also called on Aqaba citizens to close and seal doors and windows and to avoid going out.
The Director of Aqaba Health Department, Dr. Jamal Obeidat, announced the city's hospitals are full after they reached the maximum capacity in addition to opening a field hospital to receive injuries.
Obeidat added that cases of gas suffocation are referred to health centers, noting that the health condition of the injured is between medium and critical.
Chest diseases consultant, Dr. Mhammed Al-Tarawneh, said the gas leaked from the tank, believed to be chlorine, is a very toxic substance, which may significantly affect the surrounding areas.
Al-Tarawneh added that contact with this gas leads to irritation of the mucous membranes and the occurrence of a red rash in the flesh, in addition to pneumonia, pointing out that the gas entering the mouth also leads to burning in the esophagus and the occurrence of cases of diarrhea, headaches, impairment, and loss of consciousness.
The Minister of State for Information Affairs, Al-Shaboul, said that Prime Minister Dr. Bishr Al-Khasawneh instructed the formation of an investigation team, headed by the interior minister, into the accident and explosion.